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U of C says copyright email sent out after student inquiries

By Ashar Memon, March 15 2019 —

An email sent out to students at the University of Calgary last week regarding copyright regulations was prompted in part by students inquiring about the legitimacy of certain online resources, the U of C said on Thursday.

The email, attributed to U of C provost and vice-president academic Dru Marshall, was sent out on March 6 at around noon with the subject line, “Copyright regulations – Reminder.” It informed students about textbook resources on campus and also said that the U of C has to comply with regulations stipulated in the federal Copyright Act.

“The Non-Academic Misconduct Policy has accompanying disciplinary provisions that range from warnings and reprimands to suspension and expulsion. It is important that all students realize the potential implications of violating copyright law,” the email read.

The full email sent by U of C provost and vice-president academic Dru Marshall.

In a written statement provided to the Gauntlet, Marshall said that the email was sent because the U of C wanted to provide students with more information about copyrighted materials.

“Due to an increase in student inquiries regarding the legitimacy of some e-resources we wanted to proactively address this area of risk for students,” Marshall said. “We also wanted to increase awareness of potential penalties when they are not compliant.

“Copyright updates and reminders to the campus community are part of our due diligence, risk mitigation and education programs,” the statement added.

Use of copyrighted materials is defined by the U of C’s Acceptable Use of Material Protected by Copyright Policy. Under the policy, which was last revised in 2012, using material protected by copyright is a violation. Exceptions include if the U of C owns a license or if permission is obtained from the rightsholder.

“It is also a violation of this policy to instruct, direct, or counsel others to use material protected by copyright,” the policy reads.

Textbook piracy in Canada and around the world has seen a marked increase over the last several years as students turn to websites like Library Genesis to avoid exorbitant textbook prices.

According to the Canadian Federation of Students, textbook prices in Canada increased about 2.44 times the rate of inflation between 2008 and 2015.

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